Hello Peter Vittek - Endorser of the Proposal for a Participatory Socialist International (PSI),
You are one of over 1675 people who have so far endorsed the PSI Proposal.
The proposal provides the only public intervention we know of discussing features of a possible new International.
More, all indications are that, like you, a significant majority of leftists around the world, and certainly of ZCom users, would, if they read the proposal, endorse its contents. However, as with many endeavors, the real task isn't to propose a good idea that people would like if they paid attention and believed others would pay attention, too - but to engender that attention and participation.
1675 people and climbing already support the proposal's ideas.
1675 people and climbing also know that there is a high likelihood that at some point a new International will begin defining itself and will, as it emerges, immensely affect the whole left.
Will such a new International have considered the ideas of the PSI Proposal? That may depend on what the 1675 of us do.
Suppose many or even most of the 1675 devote two hours in the next week to inducing others to endorse or to discuss their hesitance to endorse. To that end, suppose we each write an article or a blog urging such steps, or we each talk to or write letters to people we know or work with, or perhaps we each urge on projects or organizations that we are part of to relate to the proposal.
This type activity would cost us each, on average, two hours. On the other hand, this type activity would expand the number of endorsers tremendously.
But will we do it?
Let's suppose we each have nothing else political that we now do that is less important than contributing our insights and advocacy to trying to affect the emergence of a new International. That's a big stretch, given the potential importance of a new International, but let's suppose nonetheless that it's true for every one of us.
Okay, in that case, none of us can dispense with anything else we do politically to free up some time this coming week for advocating the PSI Proposal. If we are to provide two hours, or any time at all, we will have to give up some sleep, or some TV, or some reading, or some socializing, or maybe even some time that we now spend at meals - maybe some time on the job or in class - or something!
Of course we could all choose to do that, it is not impossible to find two hours - which means, as is nearly always true, that time is not the final obstacle to our each taking modest steps to work to increase support for this proposal and particularly to engender discussion of new ideas for a new International.
Instead of time alone being determinant, there must be something that makes giving a couple of hours to this endeavor less important than every other thing we currently give a couple of hours too.
We all have a unique set of claims on our time. Often those claims are very extensive and also quite inflexible. Nonetheless, despite differences among us, there also lurks for many of us a common shared hesitancy at root of our not having time for this type activity.
Many of us typically hesitate to sign on to any activities beyond what we already do. We typically hesitate to support anything further away than what we are already supporting. We typically hesitate in particular to take any chances of a new type that might not pan out. And especially, on all those grounds and perhaps on other grounds as well, we typically hesitate to engage with something as difficult and problematic as organization building.
Fair enough, not least, since our hesitation has considerable historical basis.
But, still, if this type hesitancy exists widely, then by its prevalence it no doubt powerfully reinforces itself from person to person, and in that way collectively imposes on us a mood, a tendency, an inclination, which, when writ large, virtually annihilates possibility.
To counter this type of collectively self reinforcing viral hesitancy, we are asking the 1675 current endorsers, whether you do it as an experiment, as a shot in the dark, or as a well reasoned plan, whichever is your take on it - to try to contribute a couple of hours in the next seven days to the International project.
Sure, it is possible that a new International may not come to pass soon. Sure it is possible that even if it does come to pass, our intervention in the form of the Proposal for a Participatory Socialist International may not matter much.
But it is also possible that events could go the exact opposite way. The International could happen or at least be pursued and the process could incorporate wide discussion in part because of these efforts. More, a new International could emerge and it might adopt features it would otherwise not have even considered, again, due to these efforts. Doesn't that possibility warrant some of our time?
Pretty much throughout the left, we often ask ourselves, how come workers aren't devoting more or their time to innovative efforts to overcome the so obviously harmful system around them. Given the current crisis, for example, why don't workers utilize occupations or other such tactics - instead of sticking only to their most immediate and familiar family or personal workplace agendas - and ditto for other constituencies regarding the oppressive status quo that they confront.
Suppose we abstract a bit from the incredibly varied details of each specific case. Can we not then see a possible answer to the logic of other's choices? Is how we often tend to stick to the very familiar, to settle for the relatively known, and to embrace the largely isolated, so different? Is how we hesitate to innovatively challenge our own lack of international cohesion and inspiration in order to inspire, embolden, and sustain solidarity and shared program, strategy, and vision, so different?
In any event, if we so choose, the 1675 of us can certainly blog for, or write an article for, or talk to peers about, or write emails about, or urge on an organization we belong to, for the Proposal for a Participatory Socialist International. And we can also have considerable confidence that in the long run having done these things will have brought us all a bit closer to a very important and highly needed result.
So how about if we give it a try.